Warner, Nickelodeon Present ‘Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the animated crossover movie Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles digitally May 14, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray June 4.

A joint production of Warner Bros. Animation, Nickelodeon and DC, the film unites the forces of the Dark Knight and the Heroes in a Half-Shell to overcome the evil plans afoot in Gotham City when Shredder joins forces with Ra’s al Ghul.

The cast includes Troy Baker as the voices of both Batman and the Joker, the first time one actor has played both in the same film; Cas Anvar as Ra’s al Ghul; Rachel Bloom as Batgirl; John DiMaggio as Mr. Freeze; Tara Strong as Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy; Tom Kenny as Penguin; Carlos Alazraqui as Bane, Brian George as Alfred; Ben Giroux as Robin; Jim Meskimen as Commissioner Gordon and Scarecrow; Keith Ferguson as Two-Face and Baxter Stockman; Eric Bauza as Leonardo; Darren Criss as Raphael; Kyle Mooney as Michelangelo; Baron Vaughn as Donatello; and Andrew Kishino as Shredder.

The film is inspired by the comic book miniseries series Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles released in 2016 by DC Comics and IDW Publishing.

Blu-ray and digital bonus material includes the featurette “Cowabunga, Batman! When Comic Worlds Collide,” an exploration of the crossover concept; the featurette “Fight Night in Gotham,” about animating different fight styles; and a preview of the upcoming DC Universe animated movie Batman: Hush.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray will include Dolby Vision HDR and a Dolby Atmos soundtrack.

Viacom Has Global Plans for Pluto TV

On the heels of its $340 million acquisition of Pluto TV, Viacom plans to expand the ad-supported streaming video service globally, featuring the media company’s proprietary content-producing brands, including MTV, Paramount, Comedy Central, BET and Nickelodeon, among others, CEO Bob Bakish told an investor group.

The free streaming service with more than 100 channels launched operations in Germany, Austria and the United Kingdom at the end of 2018.

Speaking Feb. 26 at the Morgan Stanley technology, media & telecom confab in San Francisco, Bakish said Viacom’s decision in 2016 to pull back bulk content distribution through third-party digital channels was a double-edged sword.

“We kind of took it on chin for two years with respect to distribution revenue when we weren’t doing those kinds of deals,” Bakish said, adding that the content backlog presents distribution options for Pluto TV going forward.

The executive said Viacom generates upwards of 13 million monthly users to digital products that include Nickelodeon’s Noggin streaming service, in addition to platforms surrounding Comedy Central and BET.

Viacom also plans to market over-the-top distribution to its linear pay-TV business partners.

“This is a global opportunity,” Bakish said. “It’s going to accelerate our strategy on multiple dimensions. We see a very material opportunity there.”

At the same time, the executive said digital distribution has been hampered by the traditional pay-TV ecosystem, existing distribution agreements and related monetization opportunities.

“We don’t have a demand problem, we have a supply problem,” Bakish said.

The executive contends Pluto TV offers Viacom’s brands and advertisers a very “attractive” demographic that he claims are “essentially” not tethered to traditional pay-TV.

In addition, Bakish contends Pluto’s ad-inventory is 50% unsold due in part to a “nascent” ad force he said didn’t have access to Viacom’s portfolio of national brands and global marketers.

“They didn’t have those kinds of relationships,” he said. “[Now, they’ve] got access to money they never saw before. [Pluto TV] looks like television to advertisers.”

 

Viacom Inks Carriage Agreement with Sports-Centric Fubo TV

Viacom Feb. 20 announced a carriage agreement with online TV service Fubo TV incorporating entertainment brands such as Paramount, Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central to the sports-themed streaming service.

Viacom’s other media networks – BET, Nick Jr., TV Land and VH1 – will also be included in fubo TV’s base package. An expanded suite of Viacom channels will be available in the premier package, “fubo Extra,” including BET Her, BET Jams, BET Soul, Logo, MTV2, MTV Classic, MTV Live, mtvU, Nick Music, Nicktoons, and TeenNick.

This partnership also enhances fuboTV’s Spanish-language base package, “fubo Latino,” with Viacom’s Telefe and MTV Tr3s networks.

“This is a great opportunity to continue to grow our reach and audiences across the OTT landscape and connect with our fans wherever they consume content,” Tom Gorke, EVP, head of distribution and business development, for Viacom, said in a statement.

Notably, Viacom earlier this year acquired ad-based online TV service Pluto TV for $340 million.

The fubo TV deal offers subscribers access to MTV’s “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation,” Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” Nickelodeon’s “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” and Telefe’s “Campanas en La Noche,” among other programs.

“We’re very excited to enter into this strategic partnership with Viacom, which continues to make prescient and aggressive moves in the digital media space,” said Joel Armijo, CFO, fuboTV. “fubo remains singularly focused on offering sports fans a compelling pay-TV alternative with a robust content offering able to serve the viewing needs of the entire household.”

Viacom CEO: We’re Seeing Incredible Turnaround at Paramount

Among major studios, Paramount Pictures has taken an outsized share of fiscal hits in recent years — only generating its first operating profit since 2015 in March.

Speaking Sept. 12 at Goldman Sachs 27th Annual Communacopia confab in New York, Bob Bakish, CEO of corporate parent Viacom, said Paramount is a very different place today — thanks in part to a trio of theatrical hits and increased television content production, among other initiatives.

Specifically, low budget titles A Quiet Place and romantic comedy Book Club, together with Mission: Impossible – Fallout, the sixth installment in the Tom Cruise-starring franchise, overperformed at the box office – with A Quiet Placeand Book Club now generating significant sellthrough revenue.

Indeed, A Quiet Place grossed more than $188 million domestically, making it the second-highest grossing horror film in the U.S. over the past decade. The film has earned more than $332 million worldwide with a production cost of approximately $20 million.

Released in May 2018, Book Club earned more than $68 million at the domestic box office — more than six times its $10 million acquisition cost. The titles were released in retail (digital and physical) channels on July 10 and Aug. 28, respectively.

“Both those films are killing it in transactions for us right now,” Bakish said.

The executive said that when combined with the global box office of Fallout– the largest in Mission: Impossible franchise history, Paramount has turned the fiscal corner.

“Take those three things together, and there’s no question the [Paramount] mountain is back,” Bakish said.

In addition to movies, Paramount Television has upped content production from nine series on broadcast and online to 16 shows this year and is poised to generate $400 million in revenue.

Notable series include “13 Reasons Why” for Netflix; “The Alienist” for TNT and “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” from Amazon Prime Video. Original movie production for third-party SVOD players has begun with announcements pending, according to Bakish.

“Paramount is not only back in the TV production business, it’s a hit maker,” said Bakish. “It’s a great opportunity.”

What Viacom is not doing is developing a mass market SVOD service to compete with Netflix.

“That business is looking more and more crowded,” Bakish said. “It is a very capital-intensive game if you look what program expenses at those platforms are.”

Instead Viacom is approaching over-the-top video with strategy targeting niche SVOD services such as Noggin.com and distribution through third-party platforms such as Amazon Channels.

“Putting Noggin on Amazon Channels more than doubled subs rather quickly,” Bakish said. “And we’re in the late stages of adding other distributors. We think that’s a very effective strategy.”

Viacom is launching an ad-supported OTT video service featuring library content, and creating third-party licensed content featuring Viacom brands MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, etc.

Bakish says its “part promotion, part revenue,” with digital initiatives produced under Viacom Digital Studios, which launched nine months ago.

“We’re feeling very good about the momentum we have going into the [current] fourth quarter. We are very focused on operating the assets we already own. It’s a quest for scale both inside and outside the company,” he said.

 

 

 

Nickelodeon ‘Paw Patrol’ DVD Available Exclusively at Walmart Ahead of TV Debut

Nickelodeon’s TV movie Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups will be available exclusively at Walmart on DVD Sept. 11 ahead of its TV debut.

The DVD of the 44-minute program retails at $17.99 and includes a digital copy on Vudu.

In this mission, the Paw Patrol are given Mighty Pup powers after a mysterious meteor lands in Adventure Bay. When Mayor Humdinger and his nephew trap Ryder and steal the meteor to take over the city, the pups must work together and use their new powers to race to the rescue and save the day.

Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups is produced by Nickelodeon Home Entertainment and distributed by Paramount Home Media Distribution.

Viacom Upping Content Game

While Viacom remains ensnarled in the crosshairs of a power play between corporate parent National Amusements and CBS, the media giant has quietly ramped up original content creation and licensing.

Last month, the corporate shell to Paramount Pictures, MTV, Comedy Central, BET and Nickelodeon, among others, inked license agreements with Hulu, while reportedly signing up to create programming for Netflix.

Much of the latter through the recent launch of MTV Studios, which pledges to develop and produce a full slate of original programming with a focus on series, franchises and spin-offs that span MTV’s 35-year history.

With over 200 titles, MTV Studios has one of the largest libraries of young adult series and franchises. The initial production slate includes rebooted editions of animated series “Daria,” with writer Grace Edwards from “Inside Amy Schumer”; sci-fi series, “Aeon Flux” from “Teen Wolf” creator Jeff Davis; reality series, “The Real World”; and an update of the Emmy Award-winning coming of age unscripted series, “Made.”

The slate will include two new titles: “The Valley” (working title), a coming of age docuseries that follows a group of young friends growing up in the town of Nogales, Arizona, a city split in half, with one side in the United States and the other in Mexico.

Also included is “MTV’s Straight Up Ghosted,” which follows young people trying to reconnect with lost friends, lovers and family members and confront them about why they have been ghosted.

“With MTV Studios, we are for the first time ever opening up this vault beyond our own platforms to reimagine the franchises with new partners,” Chris McCarthy, president of MTV, said in a statement.

MTV claims to be the fastest growing network on TV, with viewership in prime time up 21% year-over-year. It generated 2.9 billion streams in 2018 and has amassed more than 350 million social followers globally.

 

 

Hulu Inks Library Deal With Viacom

In a new library agreement with Viacom, Hulu is now the exclusive streaming home to full libraries of series, including “Daria,” “Nathan for You,” “My Super Sweet 16” and “New Edition Story,” according to an announcement from the streaming service.

The deal also brings to Hulu 11 series from Nickelodeon and more than 20 films, including “Big Time Rush,” School of Rock, “Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn,” “Hunter Street,” “Make It Pop,” “Every Witch Way” and “WITS Academy.”

Also returning to Hulu will be series “Alvinnnn!!! and the Chipmunks,” ‘Kung Fu Panda” and “Penguins of Madagascar.”

“The new deal is part of Hulu’s commitment to expanding its library with programming for the whole family,” according to the announcement. “More series and films from Nickelodeon will continue to rollout throughout the year.”

Nickelodeon President Cyma Zarghami Departs

Nickelodeon June 4 announced that longtime president Cyma Zarghami is stepping down after more than 30 years with the network. As Zarghami exits, Nickelodeon claims to have the highest share of total viewing in kids’ television.

While Viacom conducts a search for a successor, Sarah Levy, COO of Viacom Media Networks, will lead the brand on an interim basis.

Levy will work with Nickelodeon’s management team to launch a pipeline of more than 800 new episodes and accelerate the brand’s push into new and next-generation streaming platforms, film, live experiences and consumer products.

Zarghami joined Nickelodeon in 1985 and was named president in 2006. Under her leadership, Nickelodeon became a global brand for kids, spanning linear and multiplatform programming, film, live experiences and consumer products.

“Over the course of her career, Cyma has played an integral role in growing Nickelodeon into the dominant force in kids’ entertainment,” Bob Bakish, CEO of Viacom, said in a statement. “Her instincts for creating content and experiences that kids love have been vital to the brand’s success around the world.”

Upon assuming control of Viacom, Bakish said the media company would focus ongoing efforts on select brands, that include Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon and Nick Jr., among others.

“We continue to evolve the business and connect with young audiences in new and innovative ways,” Bakish said. “I want to extend my deepest gratitude to Cyma for her leadership and wish her every success.”